Category Archives: Appetizers and Small Plates

Kona Coffee Glazed Chicken Wings

Ever since The Daring Kitchen Challenge that had us cooking with tea, I’ve been enamored with the idea of utilizing coffee, tea and chai in savory recipes. When I came across a recipe for Mahogany Wings in the We The Women of Hawaii Cookbook, I thought that I could up the flavor quotient by including Kona coffee in the marinade. Boy was that a success.

The kona coffee in this recipe serves to glaze these wings into mahogany glory, while a bevy of sweet sauces such as hoisin, plum, honey and ciger vinegar round out the flavor profile. Simply cook the marinade, cool it, then bake the wings in the sauce and broil to finish, for some truly lip-smacking nibbles. The chicken absorbs all of the cooking liquid while roasting in the oven, and then the last few minutes manage to lacquer the skin into sticky, sweet majesty. Continue reading Kona Coffee Glazed Chicken Wings

Crab Rangoon with Sweet Chili Sauce

I’ve always thought of this vintage throwback as a weird amalgamation – crabmeat, cheese, water chestnuts and ginger all wrapped in a wonton and fried.  Crazytalk!  But altogether, it’s a delight – one that I first tried at the now closed tiki restaurant, Honolulu, that was right off the highway in Alexandria, Virginia.

Now, I find it hard to track down a good version from Chinese takeout places, and instead, make my own.  If you love crab rangoon, but hate how many places use artificial crab meat, or worse, only cream cheese, then this is the recipe for you. Tender crab is perked up by sesame oil, ground ginger and the crunch of water chestnuts, with just enough cream cheese to bind it all together. Continue reading Crab Rangoon with Sweet Chili Sauce

Ahi Tuna Poke

Sashimi lovers, this one is for you.  The combination of meltingly tender ahi tuna with soy and sesame is a dream.  And it couldn’t be simpler to make – the key is tracking down a killer piece of tuna that is so fresh, it still wants to slap you in the face with a fin.  Ok, maybe not that fresh, but you don’t want to go cheap on this one.  The tuna is the absolute star. Continue reading Ahi Tuna Poke

Black Tea Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.
Cooking with tea?  Who woulda thunk it?  When I found out that this month’s Daring Kitchen Challenge was to cook a savory dish using tea, the only reason that I wasn’t surprised was because I’d done it before.  A long while back, in a moment of sheer MacGuyverism, I decided that since I couldn’t tea-smoke chicken in my NYC apartment without bringing in the fire department, I’d try to make a marinade for it using black tea.  The resulting mixture, which I coined “hell broth” for it’s spicy, fragrant scent, was a great success.  The chicken was diced and tucked into crisp leaves of bibb lettuce and dunked into a zippy hoisin sauce.  Tea was apparently meant for so much more than just sipping. Continue reading Black Tea Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Peach Bellini Jam

If ever you wanted to know the face of true goodness in this rag tag world (or better yet, why I’m an “Ange” and not an “Angie”), then you need to know my buddy Angie.  Friends from back in the day in high school, every chance I get to catch up with her leaves me grinning ear to ear – she is just that marvelous.  A while back, while living vicariously through her pictures of picking fruit with her adorable kiddies, I found one of her recipes for homemade jam.  I knew at that moment that I had to beg her for a guest post.  No need to twist her arm, though – here is a taste of some majesty courtesy of Angie. -AG

I got into making jams two years ago after picking about 15 gallons of strawberries at a local farm. I don’t know why I picked so many berries at one time. I guess because they were really so flavorful, fresh and quite beautiful that I couldn’t stop picking! Continue reading Peach Bellini Jam

Littleneck Clams with Chorizo and Garlic

My husband likes most all that I cook for him – in fact, the only thing that got a resounding thumbs down were my Cold Peanut Noodles – I still say it’s not the noodles so much as his distaste for cold pasta, but that’s another story for another day.  But because of his regular approval, I live for those dishes that mean adoration spelled across his face in a smile – the ones that get a “This is REALLY good, baby!” instead of a mere “It’s good.”  The bites that make him look up immediately, eyes creased with a smile, the satisfaction emanating in a grin and nod.  They don’t tell you when you get married that you become hypersensitive to context clues, but alas, here I am, reading facial expressions like ancient runes, sussing out the inside scoop. Continue reading Littleneck Clams with Chorizo and Garlic

Lemony Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt with Cucumber and Mint)

One of my absolute favorite aspects of food blogging is being able to float down the rabbit hole (a la Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, and not the more macabre connotations of the expression) of food histories.  Maybe I get the desire from my mother, an expert etymologist and language expert.  Or from my father, the history buff with a memory like a steel trap for facts and figures of all kinds.  For whatever reason, I seem to approach all of my posts similarly – dig through my personal recipe book for dishes that I’ve been cooking for years, wade through the memories that accompany them, and then circle back on the actual history and general origins of the dish.  It always leads me to these tangential thoughts that are as much a delight for me as I hope they are for you, dear reader. Continue reading Lemony Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt with Cucumber and Mint)

Classic Mussels with White Wine and Herbs

Today’s guest post is coming at you straight from NYC courtesy of my good friend Arber.  We met under non-culinary circumstances during my time as the master of web goodness at The City College of New York.  I had the dubious honor of serving as the advisor for his student organization, a cluster of entrepreneurs, programmers and designers who created the brilliant website, In Your  Funnily, in order to get their student organization up and running as quickly as possible, they found it easier to take over an already established group rather that go through the appeals process to create a new one.  Thus, although I am out and out Brazilian/Italian/African-American, I soon discovered that I was the newest advisor to the Albanian Students Organization.  The founders (Arber included) were all Albanian, so to prove my mettle, I showed them all I learned from Wikipedia about Albania and had them fill me in on the rest of the important details.  I adored the multiculturalism mixed with the laughs, and was totally honored that they asked me to be their advisor in the first place. Continue reading Classic Mussels with White Wine and Herbs

Simple Tabbouleh

Despite my undying love for New York City and all of its glories, I hate that sunshine there is at a premium.  With much of the year swathed in gray, there’s something endlessly appealing about the 364 days of sunshine that Phoenix has to offer.  I’ll probably never truly fit in here on the left coast (I’m an out-and-out East coast ex-pat, who bleeds 100% DC love when cut), but lemme just say that when Cali kids speak of their junkie-esque need for light on the regular, I kind of get it.  My move out here to the lawless desert has provided me with blissful sunshine and true blue skies that could cure the seasonally depressed in an instant, and I’m totally hooked.

Nothing speaks more to my adjustment to the bright perfection out here in AZ than my urges to whip up all sorts of cold salads.  From chilled pastas and crisp veggies sopping up vinaigrettes, to a simple toss of fresh berries, splashes of liquer and a chiffonade of mint, these chilled dishes keep my kitchen cool and my mood light.  Tabbouleh is a favorite of mine – this herby salad is a quick accompaniment to grilled meats, a homey companion on a mezze platter of hummus and olives, or a throw together potluck favorite that pairs up with any and everything on the buffet line.  Best of all, it’s a throw-together dish that is forgiving in terms of time – you can prep it ahead or even serve it right away.  Arabic for “little spicy,” tabbouleh is the marriage of tart, spicy, savory and sweet – all that you want for a cool summer supper. Continue reading Simple Tabbouleh

Green Chile Bean Dip

Ah, the joys of simplicity.  Particularly when the tummy starts rumbling and snacks must be pursued.  This tasty dip comprised of refried beans, green chiles and shredded cheese is too easy to be as good as it is.  And yet, 9 times out of 10, if I’m at my parents house rummaging through their pantry for a bite of something, I’ll end up making this dip.  And 10 times out of 10, whomever is around will stop what their doing and help to polish off the entire dish of the stuff.

I’ve been making this bean dip for longer than I remember, but the addition of the chiles I can specifically recall.  I was visiting my grandmother in Arizona for the summer, and she called from work to say that she was bringing her boss (and our family friend) over for cocktails and a bite to eat.  Could we make something quickly and preferably spicy?  My mom got to work and I watched her make this bean dip with the addition of piquant roasted hatch chiles.  Mom wasn’t messing around.  Happy hour was a success and I got to mimicking her technique from that day on.  Momma don’t play 😉  And neither should you, so try out this dip. Continue reading Green Chile Bean Dip